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Plant Physiol. 2010 Feb;152(2):866-75. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.149005. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Arabidopsis deadenylases AtCAF1a and AtCAF1b play overlapping and distinct roles in mediating environmental stress responses.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


To maintain homeostasis in an ever-changing environment organisms have evolved mechanisms to reprogram gene expression. One central mechanism regulating gene expression is messenger RNA (mRNA) degradation, which is initiated by poly(A) tail shortening (deadenylation). The carbon catabolite repressor 4-CCR4 associated factor1 (CCR4-CAF1) complex is the major enzyme complex that catalyzes mRNA deadenylation and is conserved among eukaryotes. However, the components and functions of this global regulatory complex have not been well characterized in plants. Here we investigate the CAF1 family in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). We identify 11 AtCAF1 homologs and show that a subset of these genes are responsive to mechanical wounding, among them are AtCAF1a and AtCAF1b whose expression levels are rapidly and transiently induced by wounding. The differential expression profiles of the various AtCAF1s suggest that not all AtCAF1 genes are involved in stress-responsive regulation of transcript levels. Comparison of misexpressed genes identified via transcript profiling of Atcaf1a and Atcaf1b mutants at different time points before and after wounding suggests that AtCAF1a and AtCAF1b target shared and unique transcripts for deadenylation with temporal specificity. Consistent with the AtPI4Kgamma3 transcript exhibiting the largest increase in abundance in Atcaf1b, AtCAF1b targets AtPI4Kgamma3 mRNA for deadenylation. Stress-tolerance assays demonstrate that AtCAF1a and AtCAF1b are involved in mediating abiotic stress responses. However, AtCAF1a and AtCAF1b are not functionally redundant in all cases, nor are they essential for all environmental stresses. These findings demonstrate that these closely related proteins exhibit overlapping and distinct roles with respect to mRNA deadenylation and mediation of stress responses.

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